What to Do with Old VHS Tapes

What to Do with Old VHS Tapes

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You may have quite the collection of old VHS tapes. Whether you found them in the garage, the attic, or simply inherited them from family members, it’s important to know what to do with them. There might be some incredible memories on them. And, even if there aren’t any memories, it’s important to be responsible in how you dispose of the tapes.

What to do with old VHS tapes will depend on what’s on them. Are they old Hollywood blockbusters, or are they home movies? This guide will help you to figure a few things out.


Old movies aren’t worth much when they’re in VHS format because most people don’t have VHS players anymore. That means that if you try to bring them into a video store or vintage shop, you’re not going to get much (if anything) for them. To avoid the embarrassment of hauling in 30-year-old movies, you can try to recycle them.

Some of the top websites to help you with recycling VHS tapes include earth911.com and 1800recycling.com. It allows you to take the eco-friendly approach to getting rid of tapes that are of no value to you. As you box up your old tapes, see what else you can recycle from your home. This can include cassette types, old electronics, and more. Some sites will even pay for shipping or provide you with a local drop-off center.


You might not need the VHS tapes because the movies are now on a streaming service. If they’re home movies, you may have already converted them to a more tech-friendly format (more on this in a minute). With the old tapes, you can reuse and repurpose them.

A quick glimpse onto Pinterest will give you plenty of ideas as to how you can repurpose VHS tapes. Use the film itself as streamers. Break apart the plastic case to get wheels, and more. You can have the ultimate decorations for an ’80s themed party without spending any money at the party store. Get creative and how you can reuse, repurpose, and upcycle may surprise you.


Along the same lines as reusing and repurposing, you can take the hundreds of feet of mylar ribbon and pretend that it is yarn. Yes, it’s wider and more delicate, but it can be done. You can create some incredible wearables, from scarves to purses with them.

Check out Etsy so that you can see what’s being created and see if there’s a market for some of your own creations once you begin to pull the ribbon out of the tapes. It may be one of the easiest materials for you to work with once you get the hang of it. Plus, you may have an endless supply once people realize they can just donate their old VHS tapes to you!


Okay, so in most instances, VHS movies are not very valuable. However, there are some instances where they may make you a pretty penny. Much of it is going to depend on the content, the condition, and the rarity. Disney movies, in particular, are highly sought after.

If you think you have something of value, do some research before you toss it. eBay and Facebook marketplace may be a great starting place. If you have a VHS player for sale, too, put it out at a yard sale. You might be surprised by the takers you get because they want to go retro for some movie-watching.

There are a lot of libraries and nonprofits that still have VHS players. As such, they are looking to have a library of content for people to access. They may be more than willing to take your old movies and documentaries off of your hands.

The more tapes you have, the easier it is to unload it all. Box it all up and start reaching out to the various libraries. What they don’t want becomes their property, allowing you to unload everything at once.


When you’re not dealing with Blockbuster favorites but more of your own homemade favorites, you might want to consider preserving the content.

What to do with VHS tapes becomes a bit problematic when you don’t have a VHS player. How do you know what you have if you can’t watch it?

First, take a good look at what you actually have. Are there any notes on the tapes so that you have an idea of the content? If you do, sort through to see if you have anything worth saving. If the tapes are a mystery, see what you can do about getting your hands on a VHS player. Some libraries will even rent them out. It can be worth it to see if you have any memories of yesteryear that you may have forgotten about (or didn’t even know about).

Find a company that will convert home recordings into digital formats. ARS Video, for example, can turn your movies into DVDs and digital files so that you can watch and share everything. It can make it easier for you to share memories with your family and with future generations.

Whatever You Do…Don’t Just Toss!

Particularly with home movies, you don’t want to toss VHS tapes in the trash. While they’re not considered a hazardous material, they don’t break down very well. It’s better to do the responsible thing and recycle or donate them. Otherwise, you’re contributing to the problem in the landfills.

There’s another reason why you don’t want to toss them. Do you really know what’s on them? You wouldn’t want personal home movies falling into the wrong hands. While you might not know what’s on them because of not having a VHS player, someone else might.

Even if you don’t know what’s on the VHS tapes, it can be worth paying to convert them to a more user-friendly format. Conversions are more affordable than you might think. You can ship out one, or dozens of homemade movies to a conversion company. They’ll provide you with a quote to convert the movies and even cut out all of the blank or unwanted footage.

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